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Examination of the safety, feasibility and satisfaction of telehealth out-patient consultations for children with inflammatory bowel disease

A 2020/2021 Summer Studentship research project

Student: Ashleigh Goh
Supervisors: Dr Angharad Hurley, Professor Andrew Day
Sponsor: Cure Kids & The Department of Paediatrics, UOC

Introduction

During the COVID-19 lockdown period of March – May 2020, out-patient consultations at Christchurch Hospital for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were compulsorily carried out via telehealth using phone or video contact. When face-to-face consultations were permitted the paediatric gastroenterologist initially saw all children with a scheduled appointment for a face-to-face consultation in hospital, then selected those with stable or quiescent disease to have subsequent telehealth consultations. This decision was made on a clinic-by-clinic basis, and parents given the option to change format if preferred.

Telephone consultations have previously been shown to be a safe, effective, economic, and satisfactory management strategy for children with well controlled IBD in the UK, but no data exists for children in New Zealand.

Aim

Studying the population profile, disease specific outcomes, health care utilisation and satisfaction of the two out-patient consultation formats will provide valuable data on the safety and feasibility for the continued use of telehealth in this population

Method

This study will retrospectively examine the electronic health records of children with IBD who had face to face or telehealth out-patient consultations following the COVID-19 restrictions. Data will be retrospectively collected on disease stability, growth, and health care utilisation. Prospective data will be collected on satisfaction and indirect costs related to the two out-patient formats.

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student will be responsible for collecting retrospective data from electronic health records, and for recruiting children and parents for the prospective satisfaction survey. Analysis will be carried out under supervision.

Student prerequisites

Availability to attend Christchurch Hospital for data collection and recruitment.